The Role Culture Plays In Latina Food Purchases

The “one-size- fits-all” approach to marketing fell by the wayside years ago. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the important position women have when it comes to making grocery purchases for the family.

Yet marketers still struggle to speak effectively to specific segments of the population. Take Hispanic Millennials – those aged 18 to 34. They represent the largest population of Hispanics after the under-18 Generation Z. But Hispanic Millennials differ based on their level of acculturation.

Last month I introduced you to one of three personas representing the different cohorts of Latina Millennials. This month we meet Claudia Costumbres or Claudia Customs who represents the least acculturated of Latina Millennials.

Claudia prides herself on a long repertoire of mental recipes. She’s most likely foreign-born or she immigrated to the U.S. as a young girl. She thrives on dishes rooted in tradition and they come easily to her. She looks for value and freshness. Freshness is critical as she cooks recipes from scratch. When we think of Hispanics and cooking, Claudia comes to mind for many marketers for her shopping at traditional Hispanic grocery stores, bodegas and specialty markets for fruit and meat (fruterías and carnicerías, respectively). She is also shopping more often to get the fresh ingredients she needs.



Claudia is one of the personas developed as part of the Latina Millennial Grocery Shopper Model, which will be unveiled later this year. This model is just the latest segment of the Hispanic Millennial Project by Sensis and ThinkNowResearch which explores a variety of topics, including grocery shopping and health attitudes.

Claudia cooks the most meals from scratch vs. her other cohorts who are more acculturated. She is also spending a larger share of her household budget on groceries vs. her other cohorts as well, mainly due to a larger and extended family.

While Claudia fits the stereotype of cooking for hours and hours in the kitchen, she also gets pressure from her children to make popular dishes including Asian-style fried rice or even spaghetti and meat sauce. Because she didn’t grow up eating these foods and even less having someone at home who knew how to make them, this is an opportunity for marketers to target her with not only recipes but also with products that meet these needs. She’s already the hero for cooking amazing dishes from her heritage, but she could use a little help pulling off meals that her children want her to make.

Advertisers should be sensitive to her desire to buy natural foods including her aversion to processed food. Value, freshness and natural are all her key motivators.

There’s no doubt she’ll put her special toque or touch on whatever it is she makes as she just can’t help herself to create something that is hers.

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